Marion County Sheriff’s Office uses Scent Preservation Kits to Help Find Missing Persons

MARION COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE TO USE SCENT PRESERVATION KITS TO HELP FIND MISSING PERSONS

Marion County, Florida (June 16, 2017) –

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) has purchased 1,000 Scent Preservation Kits and will be using them in conjunction with our Extra Special Person (ESP) program in an effort to find missing people faster and bring them home safely. Whether it is an elderly individual with Alzheimer’s disease, a person with Autism or a young child, these scent preservation kits will allow us to have the purest sample of that missing person’s scent readily available for our K9s to use to track.

The Scent Preservation Kits are composed of a sterile jar, pad and tamper proof tape. The scent is collected by rubbing the pad on the person’s underarm area and then sealing the pad in the jar to preserve the person’s scent. Custodians and caregivers will then secure the kit in an accessible place so if that person ever goes missing, they can provide that scent sample to our K9 unit so we can track them. The company providing the scent preservation kits say that if collected in the manner suggested, the scent can last up to
6-10 years.

To test the effectiveness of the kit, MCSO K9 Unit Sergeant Daniel Trammell used one of the kits and then set the sample aside for approximately two months. Sgt. Trammell then went outside and laid a track for a K9 to follow, but made sure to contaminate his trail in order to simulate a real search. The Florida Department of Corrections then volunteered their Bloodhound, K9 Penny, to see if she could track Sgt. Trammell’s scent using the scent preservation kit. Despite many different scents and people in the area, K9 Penny tracked directly to Sgt. Trammell.

These scent preservation kits will be paired with our ESP bracelets when we have individuals who tend to wander away from their homes or caregivers. The ESP bracelets are medical bracelets that have an assigned number on them that correlates with the individual’s personal contact and caregiver information that Marion County first responders have access to 24/7.

To sign up for the ESP program and/or the Scent Preservation Kit program, please contact the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Intervention Unit at 352-732-9111
According to the Department of Elder Affairs, Marion County currently has 11,908 citizens that have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and that number is predicted to rise. According to the University of Florida Center of Autism and Related Disabilities, Marion County has 569 registered cases of Autism under 17 years of age. The American Pediatric Association states that almost 50% of these children will go missing at least once before the age of 17.